Summertime, and the Living is Easy

This summer, while all eyes are on Rio, I will be half a worldaway, exploring two very different yet equally delightful islands: Mykonos and Capri. I’ll begin my sojourn on the fabled Greek isle, named for the grandson of Apollo, where the sun shines up to 300 days a year (I always keep my oversized sunglasses, from Balenciaga or Linda Farrow, close at hand). The intense summertime heat is blissfully tempered by the cooling Meltemi winds from the north across the Aegean Sea. The gorgeous Santa Marina hotel, with its spectacular views across Ornos Bay and the silken white sand of the island’s only private beach, will be my home base.

Santa Marina Mykonos
Santa Marina Mykonos

I’ll miss the Mykonos Biennale, creator Lydia Venieri’s impressive art-meets-philosophy symposium, since it is only celebrated in odd-numbered years; but my agenda will be full. The Archaeological Museum, among the oldest in Greece, with its superb display of ancient Aegean pottery, is a must, as is the Folklore Museum’s remarkable assortment of 19th-century furnishings, jewellery, ceramics and embroideries. Also on my itinerary: the landmark Panagia Paraportiani (Church of Our Lady), which ranks among the most photographed architectural sites on earth. Come evening, I’m looking forward to grilled lobster at Nammos, the stylish restaurant and club on Psarou Beach, delectable black cod in miso at Matsuhisa Mykonos, a chic Nobu satellite inside the Belvedere Hotel and, after hours, cocktails on the stone terrace at Astra, where the local and international cognoscenti flock. I’ll be sure to pack a few choice pieces created by Greek designer Mary Katrantzou from this year’s bold geometric-and-floral resort collection. And I’ll indulge in the beautiful, locally crafted linens, including smart traditional Greek tops and, for my two boys, crisp linen shorts.

Panagia Paraportiani
Panagia Paraportiani

On to Capri. I’ve been making summer pilgrimages to southwest Italy’s gem-like isle for years. For more than half a century, Capri has been a treasured playground for the global jet set. In the late ’60s and early ’70s, you’d often find the Christina O moored offshore while Jackie Onassis savoured her favourite vacation spot (and stocked up on white Capri pants at La Parisienne). The Ferragamo family and crystal heiress Fiona Swarovski number among the many notables who maintain homes here. Known for its seagulls and enchanting turquoise waters (the legendary Blue Grotto is a must-see), Capri is a brief hydrofoil ride away from Naples, yet remains a magical world apart.

Capri at night
Capri at night

As on Mykonos, just throw on a caftan—I’m partial to those from Taj, Camilla and Oscar de la Renta—and move effortlessly from day to dinner to drinks on the beach at La Fontelina. Though Capri is crowded with designer boutiques—elegant Via Camerelle, lined with every big name from Prada to Pucci—I’m partial to regional artisans. Perennial staples on my Capri shopping list: the vibrant, hand-crafted ceramics at Agnese and Paolo Staiano’s The Sea Gull; custom-made sandals (fashioned while you wait); stunning white eyelet blouses and dresses; and the best Limoncello imaginable, made from locally grown lemons. Delizioso!

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